Tuesday, April 17, 2007

643 days, 9 hours, 1 minutes, 26 seconds

Once upon a time, worried about repacking her computer, she left her pocketbook back at Security. Her father-in-law spotted it and tried to get it for her, but they wouldn't hand it over. Not even the same name.

643 days, 10 hours, 32 minutes, 45 seconds

Her first day back, the maid cleaning, just wanting to escape for awhile, she heads over to Popover for lunch, sits in a window seat with an ancient teddy bear on the shelf behind her. Mary said she's careful, in Berkeley, never to hang a picture over the bed. There must be twenty earthquakes a day in the Bay area. Not those that make headlines, certainly, but enough to knock paintings off the walls. Instead, she keeps two teddy bears above her bead, almost hoping they'll fall on her. That nice, soft landing. As their flight back was not, though the pilot, bless his heart, apologized – a strong tailwind, wet ground, and he had to brake hard so as not to skid.

643 days, 11 hours, 16 minutes, 38 seconds

She reaches for the golden ring. Or is it the brass ring? After tales about Goldrush California, she has gold on her mind. Mary pointed to old buildings in San Francisco with gilded roofs and said that, originally, that would have been real gold. She reaches higher.

643 days, 11 hours, 27 minutes, 40 seconds

Remember Easter. That Monday flight that was supposed to be a Sunday flight. What she didn't mention earlier was that their bags were checked on to Kennedy, while the flight they finally caught arrived in Newark. At her insistence, they took a cab to Kennedy that night, despite how late it was, only to find maybe 500 unclaimed suitcases lined up against the wall. And no one was checking baggage tags. Anyway, that's what it looked like at LaGuardia last night, on a smaller scale, maybe 300 bags, holdovers from Sunday's nor'easter. As they waited for the new bags to arrive a skycap was, for the sake of appearances, putting some back on a carousel.

643 days, 11 hours, 47 minutes, 20 seconds

It's so good to be back in normal time. Even if she feels like she's sleepwalking. Even if the trip home was grueling, the plane leaving Texas 45 minutes late, then sitting on the ground for a half hour before a gate was free. Her own bed last night aomewhere between dream and nightmare. There wasn't supposed to be jetlag in this direction, was there? When she was growing up, with parents who never traveled, she thought she'd want a job traveling around the world. But three trips this year will be enough for her. She recalls London, maybe fifteen years ago, her husband's first time out of the US and Canada, a three-night stay in a hotel one step up from flea bag, and how they arrived before noon and crashed for the better part of the day. Such a waste.